In The Kitchen

The REFB Kitchen Collective Program transforms donated ingredients into complex, nutritious, seasonal entrées for low-income seniors and families throughout Sonoma County. Under the leadership of our creative chef, Don Nolan, several groups of dedicated volunteers gather Monday through Friday to combine fresh produce, staple foods, proteins and whole grains, to create wholesome and delicious heat-and-serve meals for our low-income neighbors in need.

Kitchen Collective entrées help alleviate the challenges associated with preparing a healthy meal for those who have limited resources, disabilities, illness, lack of knowledge or understanding, or time or energy constraints due to overwhelming life circumstances.

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cauliflower-tots-20a Web boxThis month, Chef Don and his team of volunteer sous chefs are preparing Persimmon Tamales!







tamales-de-rajas Web Box
Persimmon Tamales
  • 40 corn husks
  • 7 cups masa harina cornflour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 6 cups Hachya or Fuyu persimmon puree 6-10 persimmons
  • 4 sticks butter melted
  • 2 cups warm water or apple juice
  • 2 cups walnuts chopped
  • 2 cups raisins optional
  1. Fill a large bowl with warm water and soak the corn husks until softened. This takes about 30 minutes.

  2. Peel the persimmons and remove the stem, Hachya persimmons (acorn shape) need to be semi soft, fuyu persimmons (apple shape) do not need to ripen. Chop and puree the persimmons in a food processor or blender.  

  3. Mix together making sure that all of the clumps are broken up with your fingers.

  4. Add all of the wet ingredients and once again, use your hands to mix the corn flour.

  5. Add more water as needed until you achieve the consistency of peanut butter.

  6. Fold in the walnuts and raisins.

  1. Assemble the tamales by using a rubber spatula to spread 1/2 cup to 1 cup of dough mixture onto the corn husk, depending on the size of the corn husk. The spread should cover about two thirds of the husk, away from the pointed end. NOTE: Make sure you leave space on each side to fold. 

  2. Gently fold one side of the corn husk to the other end and fold up the pointed end across. Lay each tamale fold-side down. There should be an open end to each tamale.

Cooking Instructions
  1. Fill a 24 quart tamale steamer with water to the fill line and place the steam tray on the rack.

  2. Carefully place each tamale standing up on the steam tray without overloading it and bring water to a simmer. Steam with the lid on for 90 minutes.

  3. Remove each tamale with tongs and let rest for a few minutes before serving it.

Chef’s Recipe Box

Find archived recipes here!

Interested in volunteering in the Kitchen Collective?

Click here to sign up!

Need food?

Call Food Connections at the REFB to find a distribution site in your community: 707-523-7903,
Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.

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